Modernisation has its place in cricket, but at what cost?
Australia is not the only country who’s cricketers have workloads to manage. Much more cricket is being played now than in the 90s. Then there’s the IPL.
Take England for instance. Jonathan Trott, James Anderson and Graeme Swann were not included in the one-day squad currently taking on India in a five-match series.
With the Champions Trophy and 10 Ashes Tests upcoming, the schedule over the next 12 to 18 months is as demanding and important as ever.
Rotation, managing a players workload, call it what you will. Excessive cricket continues to be offered and accepted as the reason for the growing number of injuries to players, but that doesn’t hold up so well with many fans of the game.
With recent injuries to blossoming talents like Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood and Mitch Marsh, players who have not even worked up a sweat at the international level, we must come to realise that heavy workload may not be the only cause of all injuries.
It may not be a bad idea for cricket boards to take another look at the training methods employed in the development of young cricketers as they graduate to the international level.
It has become common these days to show a young cricketer video evidence of where he is going ‘wrong’.
Often, disregarding things that come naturally, it leave us with a great danger of a sensitive, eager young mind being affected by the over-analysis and being consumed by the need to rid himself of the flaw, in turn, affecting the areas of his game that are fine.
Modernisation can be wonderful and you only have to look at technological advances to know that, but one of the concerns in cricket today is the number of “modern” coaches bringing in “modern” methods, often at the cost of cricketing common sense.
It’s difficult to imagine what would have happened to young Brian Lara had he been shown a video of how high his back-lift was. A 12-year-old Tendulkar shown a close-up of how his grip was wrong.
The cricket world shall be ever grateful these incredible talents were mostly left alone by their junior coaches.
A natural bowling action or a natural batting style is a motion that has the blessing of the individual’s body. Over the years the individual develops a certain style because it’s what the body’s frame is most comfortable with.
If an unnatural movement is introduced, the body may eventually get somewhat used to it, but reluctantly, so it should come as no surprise when one day it starts to cause injuries.
Cricketers who have had long and successful careers have one thing in common: they always simplified the game for themselves. Isn’t that a basic characteristic you desperately need in mentors – the ability to simplify the game for the young and naïve?
Because of this modernisation, I always regret that the really shrewd cricketing brains in the game, like Stephen Waugh and Mark Taylor, have not chosen to coach. The game is definitely poorer because of that.